I had the guys over the other night, and decided to debut a variation of one of my favorite things to cook.
But not just any bacon, mind you. Wright brand bacon. (It’s bigger than double thick, and always perfectly balanced with fat and lean)
My favorite way to prepare bacon for that “special occasion” is to caramelize it with brown sugar, but in all honesty, brown sugar was never enough. Simply because you can pick up brown sugar bacon just about anywhere (though it won’t caramelize like mine.) So how do we make it something special?
Specifically I use a 1 to 4 ratio of ground cayenne to light brown sugar (1 tsp. of ground cayenne mixed with 4 tsp. of brown sugar.) Under normal circumstances I cook it in the oven (recipe follows), but the other night, I had an epiphany.
What could make sweet and spicy bacon even better?
Man, was I ever right! That subtle, earthy, taste of open flame charcoal grilling took a great dish to a whole new level. Though, grilling the bacon was a bit challenging due to flareups.
Here’s both of the recipes, just in case you’re interested:
Caramelized Sweet and Spicy Bacon
8 Slices Double thick cut bacon (I prefer Wright brand)
4 tsp. Light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cayenne (adjustable to tolerance)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the bacon on an non-stick sheet pan in a single layer, leaving a little space between them. Combine the brown sugar and cayenne pepper in a bowl and sprinkle liberally over each slice of bacon (I use about 1/2 tsp per slice.) Pat the sugar mixture flat, and place the sheet pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the bacon has colored just slightly darker than caramel. The bacon will still be quite soft when it comes out of the oven, but will stiffen when it cools slightly.
Now, as far as grilling goes…
The procedure stays mostly the same, however you must be aware that grilling bacon will result in many flareups. So, it’s a good idea to keep a squirt bottle nearby to knock down the flames. Also, indirect grilling seems to work best (high heat causes scorching), so shift the coals over to the OTHER side of the grill from where you intend place the bacon. My best results came from racking the bacon perpendicular the rails of the grill surface, turning once during the grilling process. When the bacon is fully cooked, but still limp in consistency, remove it from the grill surface and place it in a sheet pan, (just like if you were making it in an oven.) Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over it liberally (1/2 tsp per slice, as before), and since the bacon is hot, you won’t need to pat it down. Once the bacon is covered, return it to the grill surface, sugar side up, and let it reheat and darken in color. Pay careful attention to how the sugar is caramelizing, and note that if you take it off when it looks completely done, chances are it will scorch once it’s off the grill and in the pan (heat doesn’t dissipate immediately you know.) So remove it early, and it should brown nicely in the pan, as it rests.
I’ve included this photo as a good guide to know when to pull the bacon off of the grill.
No known photos of the finished product exist.
I wonder why…